One of my favorite things about doing product reviews is that I have lots of opportunities to give stuff away.
I’m very fortunate to receive more gear than I could possibly use, and I love to pay that generosity forward as much as possible. However, since most of the things I give away have been worn for about 100 miles of trail running, I tend to shy away from handing them out online. Consequently, my training partners are the biggest beneficiaries of this policy, which also allows me to keep the very best gear for my own personal use.
So what does this have to do with a shoe review? Well, before I reviewed New Balance’s MT100 last December, I thought to myself, there's no way I’m giving these things away. The concept – a super-lightweight, super-high-performance trail runner inspired by the shoe-carving tactics of ultrarunning stud Anton Krupicka - was fantastic. The development of the shoe, incorporating feedback from top ultrarunners and hundreds of hours of biomechanical analysis, was impeccable. And the final specs – such as its 7.8 oz weight, midsole heights of 18mm (heel) and 8mm (forefoot), and aggressive outsole pattern with Rock Stop plating – had me drooling.
The more I heard about the MT100, the more enthralled I became; by the time the box arrived at my house, I was like one of those girls on The Bachelor who’s convinced she’s in love with the guy before she even steps out of the limo. I simply knew this was a shoe I was meant to be with.
But then a funny thing happened: on our first few dates, I noticed a couple of quirks that soon became red flags – and as we started spending more time together, those quirks became legitimate problem areas. Before I knew it, the relationship soured, and finally I did the unthinkable: I gave them away to a friend of mine. (Who loves them, naturally. And I pretend to be happy for them. You know how these things go.)
|New Balance MT101|
|Aggressive outsole with scooped-out sections to decrease weight|
The MT101 also maintains New Balance’s RL-3 racing last, which I find runs a bit small and short. One of my big problems with the MT100 was that my toes hit the front of the toebox on steep downhills, a condition partially attributable to the short cut of the last. I took the cautious route and sized up one-half size for the MT101, and I’ve had no issues with toe contact at all.
|Lightweight mesh supported by gray EVA heel collar|
|Fabric and padding around heel collar - Hallelujah!|
|Lightweight tongue, Sure Laces, ventilated mesh upper with protective toe cap|
As you’ve probably gathered, I’m extremely impressed with the MT101. It’s not a true minimalist shoe - that New Balance offering is coming soon – but it’s an ideal combination of the lightweight, low profile benefits of minimalism with a little bit of cushioning and protection so you can run like a maniac over any kind of terrain. These are my shoe of choice for our weekly 12-mile trail run where we often hammer the downhills at 6-minute pace, and it’s a perfect choice if you’re looking to PR at your local trail race. They’re durable enough to handle the most demanding ultras – in fact, Krupicka wore these for both Western States and Leadville this year – and comfortable enough that they haven’t given me any issues with blisters or hot spots, even right out of the box. I have more than 250 miles on my pair already, and they’ve shown no indication of wearing out yet.
In other words, this shoe is a keeper, and my training partners will just have to buy their own. Fortunately for their sake, as well as yours, the shoe is pretty affordable as well. The New Balance MT101 retails for $75 from TravelCountry.com and other online retailers.
*Product provided by New Balance USA
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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